Witches are suspected of murder in modern-day Salem, Mass.
State Trooper Leigh Abbott and forensic anthropologist Matt Lowell have barely recovered from the horrors of their first case together (Dead Without a Stone to Tell It, 2013) when they’re called on to work an arson-cum-murder. Leigh, one of the few women in a man’s world, infuriates a colleague when she lands a case involving badly burned remains in an antiques shop thanks to Matt’s refusal to work with anyone else. They discover that wealthy Moira Simpson was stabbed with an athame, a ceremonial witches’ knife, and her tiny dog, beaten to death before the fire was set. Moira had once been involved in a coven, and the knife was part of a set custom-made for her. Her son Flynn suffers from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, in which any injury, even as small as an injection site, turns to bone. Moira, who never had to work, spent her life caring for her son and taking up a succession of hobbies. An alarmist newspaper story suggests that witches are responsible for the murder, and the next murder/arson raises the stakes when a firefighter dies. The victim, Moira’s former priest, was killed with her boline, a work knife that was part of the missing set. Matt, who’s romantically involved with Leigh, must help her cope with a series of anonymous letters hinting that her father, killed in the line of duty, was a crooked cop. Given that there’s still one item left in Moira’s ceremonial set, who’s the next target?
A tricky mystery rich in intriguing suspects and forensic detail.